This blog was posted on Kochie’s Business Builders website.
Quitting your day job to start up your own business venture can be a scary and daunting process.
Statistics show that 50 per cent of all new businesses fail within the first five years and only 3 per cent of those remaining ever make it to the 10 year mark.
7 Steps to Creating a Thriving Business
The reason that the vast majority of businesses fail is due to simple lack of planning. Whilst there is no sure way to achieve success, there are seven key things that every business should do to ensure that are on the right track:
1. Have a detailed business plan
A wide man once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” When it comes to starting a business, this statement is golden. Even if you have no experience owning a business, do not go into it blind.
Read everything you can on the subject – books, blogs, and articles. Talk to business owners you admire and ask them for advice. Then, take what you’ve learned and outline a solid plan that incorporates all your goals into a concise strategy.
Business plans are as varied as the businesses themselves, but should always include the same basic information, such as: Overview, Goals, Budget, Operating Strategy, Target Market and Marketing Strategy
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2. Start part-time
What? But the idea is to leave your day job and become self-sufficient with a business of your own, not just make some sort of part-time hobby out of it, right?
Exactly – but you have to work up to that point. There are so many things you can’t be sure of when you first start a business and the biggest uncertainty is whether you’ll generate any income at all.
Start out slow, working only after-hours or on weekends to get your business up and running. This allows you to keep the income flowing while you explore giving your business a full-time go.
3. Have backup capital
As I pointed out in the previous step, once you quit your day job, you’re working without a net – a safety net of income, that is, to fall back on during that transitional period when your business isn’t generating enough (or any) income to sustain you.
I can’t tell you how important it is to have some backup capital to rely on during the slow times. Otherwise, you may be tempted to take out loans and get yourself further in debt, or just let your business fold all together and go back to the corporate world.
Save every penny you can and be very sure you have the means to support yourself until your business is able to do it for you – before you even think about going into business for yourself full time.
4. Know your targeted market and your competition
Before venturing into the world of entrepreneurship, ask yourself, “Who needs the service/product that I provide?” and tweak your marketing efforts accordingly.
People want solutions to their problems, not to be told what their problems are. Find out who your product/service provides a solution for and go after those people. Then, study which businesses are providing similar products/services as you and build your brand off their weak spots.
Ask yourself what can you offer that’s better than what the other guy is offering and how can you present it in a way that’s going to draw people to your business and away from his.
5. Take a multifaceted approach to advertising
Gone are the days of TV and printed media ads when you could just set them and forget them. Today, your customers could be anywhere. More likely than not, they’re on the Internet.
Having a website, blog and heavy social media presence are imperative to your brand’s success in our technological world. On the other hand, you have to have an offline approach to advertising, as well – to make sure you cover all the bases.
Community events, local council events, merchant gatherings and a wide range of other business-to- business networking functions all provide invaluable platforms for promoting your business in your local market, too.
6. Test and measure
The only way you’re going to know if your business strategies are working is to put them to the old “Test and Measure” trial.
This means test every single business, marketing and advertising strategy implemented into your business plan and measure the results/impact they have in terms of revenue/new business generated.
If it’s doing more harm than good, get rid of it and move on to something else. This way, you’re not wasting time and money on methods that don’t work, when these precious resources would be better invested in methods that do.
7. Seek advice from a business coach or other mentor
The advice of a business coach is an invaluable asset to have when it comes to starting your own business. Sure, everyone who comes along will offer you advice and tips on what you should do, but, more often than not, these people have never had a business of their own and have no experience to speak from.
A business coach, on the other hand, is in the business of putting people in business. They have been through the process themselves and know the proper steps clients should take in order to ensure success.